The Writer's Purposes A Reader for Composition

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-10-28
  • Publisher: Longman

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Part of the Penguin Academics series , The Writer#x19;s Purposes: A Reader for Compositionis a rhetorical reader that focuses on reading and writing for specific purposes.#xA0; #xA0; #xA0;Each chapter in this carefully sequenced reader shows#xA0;the reader#xA0;how to read critically and rhetorically for a specific purpose, engages#xA0;the reader #xA0;with classic and contemporary essays, and helps the reader navigate the writing process.#xA0; Author Stephen Reid outlines the specific skills needed for each writing purpose and shows the reader how to adapt a variety of topics to specific audiences and contexts.#xA0; Short but essential rhetorical guidelines are followed by professional and student essays that model each of the featured purposes:#xA0; Observing, Remembering, Investigating, Explaining, Evaluating,#xA0; Problem-Solving, and Arguing.#xA0; The Writer#x19;s Purposesenables the reader to move from descriptive and narrative writing to expository and argumentative writing.

Table of Contents


Reading: Purposes and Processes

Reading Is Not a Spectator Sport  

Some Myths About Reading

Purposes for Reading

Processes for Critical Reading

Add Reading Visuals.  Do Goldberg Image here

Writing Responses

Testing Your Critical Reading Process


Ellen Goodman, Honor Society Hypocrisy

Arlene Pfeiffer, a seventeen-year-old honor student, student council president, and unwed mother, is kicked out of her school’s honor society after giving birth to her daughter, Jessica. Is the school board guilty of hypocrisy?


Mortimer AdlerHow to Mark a Book

Active reading should create a conversation between the reader and the writer. “Marking up a book is not an act of mutilation,” the author asserts, “but of love.”


Sherman Alexie,  The Joy of Reading and Writing


Malcolm X, Learning to Read

Malcolm Little explains how he educated himself while in prison by copying entire pages out of a dictionary in order to write letters to Elijah Muhammad and understand the books he read.


Tania Ralli, Who’s a Looter?



Writing: Purposes and Processes  

The Writing Situation

Purposes for Writing

Audience Analysis

Kinds of Writing

The Writer’s Voice

Strategies for Writing

Processes for Writing

Purpose and Process: One Writer’s Essay


Nicolle Mircos, My Sister, Kari

The author’s essay about her disabled younger sister illustrates how she integrated purpose and process in her prewriting, clustering, rough draft, final draft, and postscript


Peter Elbow, Freewriting

A noted teacher, researcher, and writer gives advice about writing: “The most effective way I know to improve your writing is to do freewriting exercises regularly. . . . The idea is simply to write for ten minutes. Don’t stop for anything. Go quickly without rushing.”


Anne Lamott, Shitty First Drafts

Having trouble with those first drafts? Just remember Anne Lamott’s advice: “The first draft is the down draft–you just get it down. The second draft is the up draft–you fix it up.”


Donald M. Murray, The Maker’s Eye: Revising Your Own Manuscripts

"When students complete a first draft, they consider the job of writing done. . . . When professional writers complete a first draft, they usually feel that they are at the start of the writing process. When a draft is completed, the job of writing can begin.”


Amy Tan, Mother Tongue

"Language is the tool of my trade,” writes Amy Tan. “And I use them all–all the Englishes I grew up with.” The author of The Joy Luck Club prompts us to consider why many Americans look down on people who speak “broken” or “limited” English




Strategies for Reading and Writing Observing Essays

Reading an Observing Essay

Writing an Observing Essay


William Least Heat-Moon, West Texas

 “I drove on. The low sun turned the mesa rimrock to silhouettes, angular and weird and unearthly; had someone said the far side of Saturn looked just like this, I would have believed him.”


Annie Dillard, Lenses

Watching through binoculars as a pair of whistling swans fly over Daleville Pond reminds this Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of her childhood days spent staring at the microscopic life in a drop of pond water.


Roland Barthes and Emily Prager, Toys, 130 and Barbies

According to French philosopher Roland Barthes, children’s toys carry with them clues about their cultural and ideological function. Borrowing Barthes’s semiotic method, Emily Prager analyzes the cultural myths created and sustained by Barbie.


SueEllen Campbell, Layers of Place


Scudder, Take this Fish and Look at it


Elizabeth Weston, Fetal Pig

"Today,” her zoology instructor says, “we will dissect the fetal pig.” The author feels a wave of fear and nausea overtake her. A headline flashes in her mind: “Girl Sickened by Dead Pig Fails College.




Strategies for Reading and Writing Remembering Essays

Reading a Remembering Essay

Writing a Remembering Essay


Dick Gregory, Shame

In love with a girl named Helene Tucker and embarrassed by his poverty, the author remembers an incident in a classroom twenty-two years ago that taught him shame.


Laura Wagner, Haiti: A Survivor's Story


Helen Keller, The Day Language Came into my Life


Richard Rodriguez, Los Pobres

The Mexican-American author sets out to learn from a summer of hard, physical labor how it feels–and what it means–to be a Mexican alien working in California


Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, Living in Two Cultures

"Because I am culturally neither pure Japanese nor pure American does not mean I am less of a person. It means I have been enriched by the heritage of both.” The author recalls her struggles growing up as an Asian Female in a Hakujin or Caucasian world.


Walter Goedeker, The Wake-Up Call

"There, on the bed, was my best friend hooked to more machines than I had imagined possible. Tubes and wires crisscrossed in an eerie web over his mangled body. He had sustained a massive concussion, a broken leg, a broken arm, and several contusions and lacerations.”




Strategies for Reading and Writing Investigating Essays

Reading an Investigative Essay

Writing an Investigative Essay


Drivers on Cell Phones are as Bad as Drunks


Clair Suddath, Does Obesity Rehab Work? 


Sara Corbett, Rick Steves’s Not So Lonely Planet


Glenn C. Altschuler, The E-Learning Curve

Are you thinking about taking a college course online or through distance education? This dean of continuing education at Cornell University advises us to examine the advantages and disadvantages of online courses before we sign on the virtual line


Mary White, The Beauty Behind Beauty Pageants

The French have a phrase for it: Il faut souffrir pour être belle. It is necessary to suffer in order to be beautiful. As the author discovers, nowhere is this more apparent than at a beauty pageant




Strategies for Reading and Writing Explaining Essays

Reading an Explaining Essay

Writing an Explaining Essay


Suze Orman, How to Take Control of your Credit Cards


David  von Drehle, Why Crime Went Away


 Jean Kilbourne, Jesus is a Brand of Jeans


Stephen King, Why We Crave Horror Movies

"The mythic horror movie, like the sick joke, has a dirty job to do. It deliberately appeals to all that is worst in us. It is morbidity unchained, our most base instincts let free . . . and it all happens, fittingly enough, in the dark.”


Bud Herron, Cat Bathing as a Martial Artt

Ever wonder how to give a cat a bath? To keep from getting clawed to death, Bud Herron recommends that you dress properly for the job with “canvas overalls tucked into high-top construction boots, a pair of steel-mesh gloves, an army helmet, a hockey face mask, and a long-sleeved flack jacket.”


Michael J. Jones, Wine Tasting: How to Fool Some of the People All of the Time

With his tongue firmly in cheek, the author explains the finer points of the “sniff, swirl, and gurgle” technique you can use when tasting a vintage wine on that special occasion




Strategies for Reading and Writing Evaluating Essays

Reading an Evaluating Essay

Writing an Evaluating Essay


Consumer Report, Netbooks


David Sedaris, Today’s Special


Richard Alleva, Pocahokum


Gilbert Highet, The Gettysburg Address with Lincoln, “The Gettysburg Address” 


Margaret Lazarus, All’s Not Well in Land of “The Lion King:

“The Lion King,” the author argues, is not a story about animals. It is “a metaphor for society that originated in the minds of Disney’s creators. These bigoted images and attitudes will lodge deeply in children’s consciousness.”


Craig Cooley, The Two Best Letters on Television

"In the fall of 1994, a new drama hit the airwaves. The title consisted of only two little letters, but it has become one of the most popular shows on television. Its popularity parallels shows such as ‘Magnum P.I.,’ ‘M*A*S*H,’ and ‘Cheers’. Of course, I’m talking about ‘ER.’



Problem Solving

Strategies for Reading and Writing Problem-Solving Essays

Reading a Problem-Solving Essay

Writing a Problem-Solving Essay


Wendell Berry, Solving for Pattern


Eric Schlosser, Marion Nestle, Michael Pollan, Troy Duster and Elizabeth Ransom, Peter Singer, Jim Hightower, One Thing to do About Food


Mark Wilson, Professors Should Embrace Wikipedia


Deborah Tannen, CrossTalk

What happens when women and men attempt to communicate in the workplace? The author, a noted authority on cross-gender communication, offers tips for working women to help keep the lines of communication open


Julia Alvarez, A White Woman of Color

Writing about her own experience growing up in the Dominican Republic, the author discovers that by accepting many races and color differences “we Latinos can provide a positive multicultural, multiracial model to a divided America.”


Jenny Sharpe, The Problem of Dropouts Can Be Solved

With the combination of a strengthened Head Start program, a strong truancy program, and a wider selection of alternative schools, we can reduce the problem of high school dropouts. . .




Strategies for Reading and Writing Arguing Essays

Reading an Arguing Essay

Writing an Arguing Essay


James Rachels, Active and Passive Euthanasia

 Jack Kevorkian’s efforts on behalf of the terminally ill have reignited the debate about the ethics of euthanasia. In this essay, James Rachels advises doctors that active euthanasia may, in some cases, be the ethically right decision.


Gregg Easterbrook, Some Convenient Truths


Edward I. Koch, Death and Justice

Is killing people wrong, even when the state is executing a convicted murderer? The former Mayor of New York City offers a classically organized argument in favor of the death penalty


Deborah Tannen, The Argument Culture

"We must expand our notion of ‘debate’ to include more dialogue,” this best-selling author suggests. “Instead of asking, ‘What’s the other side?’ we might ask, ‘What are the other sides?’ Instead of insisting on hearing ‘both sides,’ let’s insist on hearing ‘all sides.’ ”


Mike Royko, The Ethics of Endorsing a Product

Is it ethical for public figures to receive money for selling a product on television when they don’t even like the product? The author debates the ethics of television endorsements with his friend, Slats Grobnik


Martin Luther King, Jr, Letter from Birmingham Jail<

In his classic 1963 letter to eight Alabama clergymen, America’s greatest civil rights leader argues for the timeliness and lawfulness of nonviolent action to gain civil rights for Black Americans


Kimberly S. Freeman, Battered

"Men who batter and abuse women are emotionally disturbed, as are the women who allow the abuse to occur,” claims the author. “Both the man and the woman need help.”



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